The Mysteries of the Inquisition and Other Secret Societies of Spain

Categories: Literature & Poetry
Written By: John

This title is quite scarce, if not actually rare, at least in English. First published in Europe in the 1840’s, these woodcut images were scanned from the 1845 American edition, likely the first edition in the U.S. but I am not sure. I am also unsure if these are all the images, as the book was damaged and missing few leaves of text. It did not look as though any illustration pages were missing, but the only bibliographic references I found were sketchy so it is hard to tell.

In the preface the translator writes “The following graphic and authentic descriptions of the incredible barbarities and wickedness of the Spanish Inquisition is written by a Roman Catholic. Whilst many of the characters who figure in the following story are fictitious, the author has adhered closely to facts in every thing relating to the usages of the horrid tribunal which he describes. The portrait of the monster is exact, but the drapery is artificial. The immense popularity of the work on the continent of Europe will surprise no one who peruses its pages. They present unquestionably the most thrilling exhibition of the atrocious wickedness of the Inquisition any where recorded, and this exposure is not the less remarkable, because it is offered by a Roman Catholic.” The basic plot involves a young priest who is the assistant to the Grand Inquisitor. As the young priest gains influence, it becomes evident that his motives are more than simply to help the inquisitor, help save the souls of those being tortured, or even to help himself. The horrors of the inquisition are detailed throughout the book.

Title: The Mysteries of the Inquisition and Other Secret Societies of Spain
Author: M. V. de Fereal
Artist: unknown – woodcuts
Publisher: J. B. Lippincott & Co.
Date Published: 1845

There are nine pictures from the book.  Click on a thumbnail image below to go to that pictures page in the Gallery.

Inquisitors capture a suspected heretic.

Abduction : Inquisitors capture a suspected heretic.

Breaking on the Wheel:  A man is tied to the wheel to be broken. A priest records what he says. Another is there to perhaps pray for his soul, while the hooded torturers go about their cruel task.

Breaking on the Wheel : A man is tied to the wheel to be broken. A priest records what he says. Another is there to perhaps pray for his soul, while the hooded torturers go about their cruel task.

Hung by the Wrists or Thumbs:  Again, the work is done by men in hoods. The observers seem calm and happy, confident in the holy nature of their task.

Hung by the Wrists or Thumbs : Again, the work is done by men in hoods. The observers seem calm and happy, confident in the holy nature of their task.

Sword Play in a Fight for their Lives : A man an a woman fight with swords, trying to repel their own capture, knowing that there is no escape once imprisoned.

Sword Play in a Fight for their Lives : A man an a woman fight with swords, trying to repel their own capture, knowing that there is no escape once imprisoned.

Trial by Burning and Fire : Again, a scribe is ready tro write down any confessions as the heretic has his feet stockaded and burned.

Trial by Burning and Fire : Again, a scribe is ready tro write down any confessions as the "heretic" has his feet stockaded and burned.

The Trial : The Grand Inquisitor and others sit in judgment as evidence and testimony is given, perhaps by the accused himself.

The Trial : The Grand Inquisitor and others sit in judgment as evidence and testimony is given, perhaps by the accused himself.

In the Cell : A condemned man receives a small amount of succor in his cell.

In the Cell : A condemned man receives a small amount of succor in his cell.

Hanging : Having been judged to have suffered enough to be purified a condemned man is put out of his hanging misery by the torturer.

Hanging : Having been judged to have suffered enough to be "purified" a condemned man is put out of his hanging misery by the torturer.

Garrot : Yet another horrifying ordeal and death. The priest is of course there to tend to the soul.

Garrot : Yet another horrifying ordeal and death. The priest is of course there to tend to the soul.

4 Responses to “The Mysteries of the Inquisition and Other Secret Societies of Spain”

  1. Brian P. Enyart Says:

    Hello, I was hoping someone could provide me any information at all on how I could procure a copy of this text. Have been searching off and on for several years for this book. Last seen on EBay of all places…Have not seen it since…I believe this is the book I am looking for.

    Thank You For Any Information.

    Brian

  2. admin Says:

    eBay will be your best bet, I think. You can also go to ABEBooks and set up an account with a “wants list.”

    You should be prepared to spend at least $100 to $300 I would guess, unless you get lucky. I do not see these often at all, and usually on eBay there will be more than one bidder. I know they have sold (English copies, that is) for over $500.

  3. G. Dodds Says:

    The French edition of this novel is available through Google books, and seems to have many of these illustrations.

  4. Brian P. Enyart Says:

    After several more years of looking…..I finally found and purchased a copy….you truly can find just about anything on Ebay!

    Cheers

    Brian

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